IPS is currently closed for summer vacation. Please enjoy an encore post on a very timely back-to-school subject!
A great way for parents to prepare their children for a new experience is to read books about the topic at hand. A story read aloud provides children with a setting, characters, and activities that they can relate to. Books also act as a springboard for questions both raised by the children and facilitated by the readers. Reading a book aloud, as well as discussing and answering questions, can help alleviate anxiety about a new situation.
There are many wonderful back-to-school books available for your child’s reading pleasure. Read on for a list of highly recommended books from The International Preschools to help kick off the school year!
At The International Preschools, all children have a morning snack time built into their daily schedule. Full day children have about 45 minutes for lunch, in addition to their morning snack.
This is an important time of day for the children. First and foremost, snack time (and lunch time) keep the children nourished and their energy levels regulated for the activities that they will participate in. Many social, emotional, and cognitive skills are also honed and strengthened while enjoying a well-balanced meal or snack.
Here are some of the important skills that your child is acquiring during snack and lunch at The International Preschools:
Self-Help Skills: During snack time, children clean up their place setting on their own, which might require putting a placemat in its proper place; disposing of plates, cups, and utensils; and washing hands. At lunch time, children (where applicable) help to take out their lunches (containers, drinks, etc.) and put everything back inside their lunch box when finished. The children also put their lunch boxes back into their cubbies.
Expressive Language Skills: Teachers model responses and questions for the children. For example, if a child would like more of a certain snack (Chex, Cheerios, etc.), the teacher would model, “More Chex, please,” so that he/she can copy the verbal request. The goal is for the child to use the words on his/her own, in any situation, to ask for what he/she needs.
Number Sense: During conversation at snack or lunch time, a child might notice things such as how many Cheerios he/she has on his plate, or how many chicken nuggets he/she has in his/her lunch. This is play-based learning at its most casual! Becoming aware of what makes a number (i.e. that five objects make the number 5) is a math skills required for counting with correspondence, addition, subtraction…you name it!
Social Skills: Snack time and lunch time provide a perfect opportunity for children to socialize with their peers and teachers. Often, teachers will place children strategically next to different classmates at each snack time, so that they get an opportunity to chat with (and get to know) all of the children in the room. Teachers will model expressive language when needed, so that children can practice asking for what they want, interacting with peers, and reading social cues, to name a few skills.
Life Skills: In the Green (3s) and Pre-K (4s) Rooms, children have “jobs” that they are in charge of throughout the day. These jobs might change daily or weekly. Jobs instill confidence and responsibility in young children; achieving the goal of a job (such as watering a plant) boosts their self-esteem and motivation. A few of these jobs are completed during snack or lunch time: one child passes out the napkins, another might count the lunch boxes (to be sure everyone’s lunch is present), another child might pass out cups. At home, parents can allow children to carry out these jobs as well, in the form of setting the table (in part or in its entirety). Children love to help out, and giving them a job (or jobs) at home will help develop your child’s confidence as well.
Any time of the day can be a time for learning (the play-based kind is our favorite)!
Making friends, reading social cues, and initiating play are necessary lifelong skills. Children begin to learn the nuances of creating connections with their peers at a very early age. A baby as young as six months old will get excited when he/she sees another baby!
The strengthening of these types of social skills is a priority in preschools and other early childhood education settings. Teachers model behaviors for young children; this can include role-playing different social situations (i.e. wanting to join a group of children playing in the block area) and/or providing the necessary for the child to express what he/she wants or needs (i.e. a toy that another child is playing with).
Here are two great articles about how to cultivate your child’s friendship-making skills:
It’s been an eventful January! We welcomed the new year, began units on polar regions and winter weather, and witnessed the inauguration of the next United States president. Here’s a look at some fun activities that have taken place within our classrooms over the last several weeks…
Happy Winter to all!
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My five-year-old daughter pays attention to every little detail. Even when you think she’s not listening to your conversation (or taking notes on what you are watching on TV), she is. I know I’m not the only one who is constantly maintaining the balance between sharing information simply and concisely, while keeping other unnecessary news (that is, news not needed for a five-year-old’s ears) at bay.
In light of all the media coverage, be it on television or an iPad, about a variety of scary visual topics for our young ones (the storming of the Capitol Building, to name just one), I researched ways to answer questions or attend to comments that may come about.
I found a great article on the PBS website that gives great advice about tackling topics from the assault on the Capitol building to (unfortunately) more frequent occurrences, such as a fire. I hope you find it helpful! Here’s the link:
With masks and social distancing now becoming the “new normal” here in New York and across the country, it can be hard to determine how best to explain these changes to young children. In any new type of situation, one of the best ways to teach children about something new is through reading.
Fortunately, there are several great books for preschoolers and school-aged children available for purchase. Here are a few books that we have used here at The International Preschools inside of our classrooms:
If You Can’t Bear Hug, Air Hug by Katie Sedmak: A cute story demonstrating the different ways that people can greet each other and participate in activities together, even when keeping away from handshakes and hugs.
The Love Behind the Mask by Lizy Toth: A story about the importance of wearing masks and how they protect others.
Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen: Although not about masks and social distancing, this book reinforces the idea of resilience and how friends and teachers can be their own type of family.
Lucy’s Mask by Lisa Thompson: This book finds a fun side to the not-so-fun parts of social distancing for kids: creating and wearing your own mask.
Although we are well into July and the COVID-19 outbreak, at least here in the tri-state area, has decreased significantly, more families are choosing to make the summer of 2020 a low-key summer. This means less going out, less traveling, and more time spent in and around the home.
As adults, we sometimes forget about the simplicities and plethora of activities that can entertain little and big kids alike. Looking for some ideas to up your outdoor game? Read on!
The end of the 2019-2020 school year has arrived, and with it comes end-of-the-year ceremonies for our Red (2s), Green (3s), Pre-K (4s), and Junior K (4s/5s) classes. Usually, this time of year brings parents and children together within the classrooms to celebrate this milestone together. Unfortunately, COVID-19 derailed our plans…but not to worry, the teachers at The International Preschools provided its students with memorable events to close out this school year!
A spring curriculum tradition at The International Preschools is to learn about life cycles. Every year, IPS teachers receive caterpillars and/or ladybug larvae and, through observation, watch these tiny animals transform into butterflies and ladybugs respectively. Although COVID-19 has prevented us from maintaining this tradition in person, our crafty teachers were able to still take part in this amazing unit via Zoom (and their homes)!
In mid-May, The International Preschools celebrated the traditional Mother’s Day holiday. While our 76th Street location honored mothers in a few different ways, the 86th Street location chose to commemorate “Parents Day” with the children and their families.
The International Preschools Blog is an opportunity to journey into the school's classrooms. Here you will find information about play-based education, diversity, classroom themes; all the things that make learning joyful and fun at one of the best preschools in New York City.